Even after Supreme Court snub, Bristol Myers pleads for rehearing in bid to revive $1.2B award

After Amgen's recent advance in its patent feud with Regeneron and Sanofi, Bristol Myers Squibb is turning to the Supreme Court—yet again—in a bid to revive a blockbuster verdict.

Bristol Myers Squibb's CAR-T unit Juno Therapeutics wants the high court to rehear its petition to revive a $1.2 billion win in its dispute over Gilead Sciences’ cell therapy Yescarta. The Supreme Court rejected BMS' appeal earlier this month, about a year after a federal appeals court overturned the fine against Gilead’s Kite Pharma for allegedly copying and commercializing patented CAR-T technology.

The intellectual property imbroglio originated with Juno and Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, which together sued Kite in 2017. 

The Supreme Court already declined to hear BMS’ case earlier this month. But the company and its cell therapy division Juno have been emboldened by a recent win for Amgen in another case BMS claims “involve[s] the very same sentence of the very same statute."

Petitioning the Supreme Court to reconsider patent losses rarely pans out for drugmakers, but the Hail Mary bid turned out positively for Amgen this fall. In early November, the Supreme Court said it would let Amgen argue to resurrect a pair of Repatha patents that were put on ice back in 2019. A spokesperson for Regeneron said the company expects the justices to reach a decision by the end of June.

The outcome of Amgen’s case “is likely to at least affect, if not be outcome-determinative of, this case,” BMS’ Juno said in a court filing published this week.

Juno added that—like Amgen—it's ginned up considerable support on its side of the aisle.

Whether the Supreme Court feels differently about BMS’ case in the wake of its Amgen decision remains to be seen. Still, the initial rejection wasn’t much of a shock, as the Supreme Court in general rarely takes up patent cases on appeal, intellectual property lawyer Ronald Cahill explained in a recent interview with Fierce.

After a two-week trial in 2019, jurors originally ordered Gilead's Kite to shell out $752 million to Juno and Sloan Kettering. Kite’s attempts to overturn that loss failed and in April 2020 a judge concluded the infringement had been “willful,” raising the award to $1.2 billion. Later, a federal appeals court overturned the fine completely, finding the verdict was “not supported by substantial evidence.”